New York – November 15, 2020

In recent years, the services of mediators may prove beneficial for the estate planning process and may deter claims of legal malpractice, or litigation between family members during probate administration.  Planning ahead to avoid problems will allow New York Surrogate Court Probate actions to move more quickly through the court system.  Sometimes conflicts of interest arise after the death of a loved one when dual executors are assigned to administer an estate.  Consenting to joint representation during estate planning may deter malpractice exposure if clients have differing opinions over estate matters.  Mediators do not need to be experts in estate planning as long as they understand the underlying concepts and terminology. Mediation practices are beneficial, and give a testator a mechanism for co-executors to have an equal voice when undertaking the actions requested in a will document after their death, guiding actions as they will affect beneficiaries and estate matters during probate.

Mediation.

After an individual dies, mediation can be useful in resolving probate and trust administration problems for those that are in charge of administering an estate.  Relationships between executors, or trustees and beneficiaries can go sideways because of different priorities, or lacking trust. If a plan is well laid out during estate planning, the likelihood that executors can work toward the best interests of beneficiaries is solidified.  Preemptive actions during estate planning include the testator’s wishes being

Estate plan.

Consider talking to legal professionals about preemptive measures to be incorporated into estate plans that will allow for a smooth probate administration in New York.  The clearer a person lays out their wishes into writing, the smaller the margin for error and disputes between executors, trustees, and beneficiaries. An estate planning attorney can help draft common documents included in estate planning that include:

  • A last will and testament, with guardianship if there are minor children,
  • an advanced healthcare directive, and
  • a durable power of attorney.

Wills must be prepared properly, signed, and witnessed by experienced probate attorneys.  Key provisions of a will usually include:

  • Identification of the testator,
  • Identification of document as the last will and testament,
  • Appointment of the executor,
  • Distribution of personal property,
  • Bequests – defined as special or general,
  • Payment of estate expenses – somewhat self-explanatory and concerns the creditors of the deceased testator (decedent). After admission to probate, notice is published in the local paper and will also be sent to all known creditors, who have a specified number of days to file a claim against the estate outlined in state probate laws,
  • Distribution of residuary estate – A will should always designate who is to receive the residuary of the estate.
  • Other provisions testator requests pertaining to asset distribution.

Hire an attorney.

Contact Attorney Ron Meyers with questions regarding preemptive actions during estate planning that will allow probate administration to go smoothly and timely in New York Surrogate Court.

 Ron L. Meyers & Associates, PLLC

Address:  475 Park Avenue South, Suite 2100

Manhattan, NY 10016

Phone: 212-644-8787

Sources:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EPT

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EPT/4-1.1

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